WASHINGTON—According to new numbers released on Friday, the economy added 223,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5%.
Despite the headline job gains and steady unemployment rate, the report continues to show that employment is far-from-recovered.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual revision showed that the number of people employed in 2022 grew by 826,000 less (about 69,000 less per month) than previously reported.
Rachel Greszler, Heritage Foundation senior research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements, released the following statement in response to the numbers:
“The Biden administration continues to tout high job gains throughout its tenure but fails to mention the large decline in workers’ inflation-adjusted wages and the millions of Americans that are no longer working. Since January 2021, workers have lost $3,300 in wages due to inflation’s $7,200 tax that has outstripped workers’ $3,900 nominal wage gains.
“Moreover, 2.8 million fewer people are working today than were working at pre-pandemic rates. Over the past three months, the BLS data shows 742,000 jobs were added even as the number of people employed rose by only 394,000.
“Divergence in the jobs and employment data from one month to another is not uncommon as the two figures come from different surveys, but this recent trend calls into question whether the labor market is actually as strong as some reports suggest.
“The necessary components for getting people back to work are straightforward: there must be ample job opportunities, and it must pay to work.
“At every turn, the Biden administration has enacted policies that accomplish the exact opposite. In addition to numerous welfare-without-work policies that reduce the rewards of work, the Biden DOL recently ended up promising new industry-recognized apprenticeship programs because union bosses saw them as a threat to their monopoly on registered apprenticeships. The Biden NLRB and DOL also promulgated rules that threaten the business model of hundreds of thousands of small businesses across America and threaten the livelihoods and job opportunities of tens of millions of workers.
“American workers have so much potential, and the Covid-19 pandemic brought positive changes to the workplace through added flexibility and more family-friendly policies. The economy and workers’ real wages could be growing significantly, but Washington continues to enact barriers to workers’ opportunities and incomes.”